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The Do's and Don'ts of Public Relations

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

Public relations is a strategic communication process used by individuals, businesses, and organisations to create a positive relationship with the public. It is the practice of leveraging media channels to promote an organisation and cultivate a positive public perception.

Consumers want to trust the brands they do business with—and nothing builds and fosters trust like public relations. In all its forms, the media is the most critical way for a brand to gain credibility. Therefore, public relations is not just about building rapport with the public, but also the media, and here are some Do’s and Don’t’s of PR.

Don’t: Assume

The number-one no-no in public relations is to assume anything that you are unsure of. In public relations, you are essentially the bridge between the client and the journalist. Assuming anything you are uncertain of will ultimately result in miscommunication, which can tarnish the working relationship between you and the journalist, or even worse, the trust your client has placed in you. It is paramount to ensure that all work is accurate and all gaps are closed immediately.

Do: Clarify

It is better to spend a bit of time to seek clarification than to assume and cause miscommunication for all parties hurriedly. Communicate effectively, and you will show your clients that they have placed their trust in the right person and that you are meticulous in doing your job.

Don’t: Bombard the media.

When sending out hundreds of emails for a campaign, it’s okay to take ‘no’ for an answer. If a journalist has communicated that they will not be pursuing your pitch, just say “thank you” and move on. Not only will pressing the journalist further not change their mind, but it will also leave an unfavourable impression on you. When following up with journalists, never call them unless it is urgent, and do not, under any circumstances, ping them on their social media platforms. If you are too aggressive in your approach, you will scare the journalist away from any interest they originally had in your story.

Do: Be patient and communicate respectfully.

Never expect an immediate response from a journalist. More often than not, they will have to run your pitches through their superiors before pursuing the story. While waiting for a reply, drop a few follow-up messages before resorting to calling. When speaking on the phone, speak cordially and keep the conversation short. Respectful communication is the key to a harmonious working relationship with the media.

Do: Send journalists interesting and engaging copy.

When crafting a media pitch or invite for dissemination, crafting a captivating story is half the battle won. Journalists receive dozens of media releases every day. Hence, it is vital for your pitch to stand out from the crowd. Lead them in with an enticing title, then engage the journalist in the body of the text with your creativity. Research on the trends in the news. How is your client relevant to these trends? Find a statistic that corresponds with what your client’s brand does, and explain how they fit into the big picture. Read your text multiple times before sending it. If it doesn’t appeal to you, it will not appeal to the journalist.

Don’t: Send journalists a wall of text.

We get it. Sometimes, your client may not be an exciting brand or release a revolutionary product. Nevertheless, they still deserve the best effort when it comes to pitching to the media. Simply regurgitating the client’s information into the email body will not yield any media interest, and it speaks volumes of the PR professional’s competency.

This list of do’s and don’ts is non-exhaustive and is ingrained in the mind of every PR Strategist and Consultant that step foot into Saltine Communications, and are quintessential to our day-to-day operations. Standing firm in our belief that every brand deserves the best PR they can get. Saltine Communications employs various strategies to ensure our clients receive the most suitable efforts for their needs.

You can read more about our clients’ PR successes here.

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